What is the meaning of life? By Manuel Lozano Leyva

This post is also available in: Spanish

There are two currents respect to that. One says that every parameter in the Universe, be it the speed of light, Planck’s constant, the electron’s charge, etc. up to a great precision, have to be like this because, if they hadn’t, life would never have evolved. Then there’s the question that life, in a Universe as large as the one we inhabit, could have developed in many places. That is, Giordano Bruno. One of the reasons why they tortured him for eight years, and they burn him with his tongue nailed to a post, so that he couldn’t talk, was that he said: “there are innumerable suns, innumerable worlds spin around them, there’s life in them.” When you think that in our Galaxy has hundreds of thousands of stars like the sun and that the number of galaxies has a similar figure; on top of that, now we’re discovering exoplanets which, until 10 years ago, were like Jupiter, but now we’re finding more and more planets the size of the Earth. So, even though the Universe has its constants adjusted for life, that is compatible with our whole galaxy brimming with life. And in the other galaxies, of course. Which kind of life? Who knows! From some nasty mold to more evolved beings than us, which will have evolved towards mysticism or technology, or maybe they’ll just be herbivores or bacteria. We don’t know, but that physical constants in the Universe could be adjusted or, on the contrary, that life is just a consequence of those constants, which seems to be the case, does not make us necessarily the only living things in the Universe, even though that could also be the case. In conclusion: we have no idea but, from Science’s point of view, both things are compatible.

What are the possible explanations for the fine-tuning of the constants?

Maybe they just ended up like that. We don’t need a hand to adjust them. The fact that the constants are fine-tuned means that, if they weren’t constant but one of them could vary, let’s say, the fine structure constant or any other in Physics, then atoms would be unstable, matter would collapse and we would not be here. There’s no mystics involved. The electron’s charge, the fine structure constant, Planck’s constant, the mass of this and that, if any of those values was a little different, the Universe would be different. In fact, the theory that Hawking defends in his book -which wasn’t created by him- the multiverse theory, says that there are multiple universes where the constants would have different values. However, they are not causally connected to ours, that is, we could never communicate with them. But, really, the fact that if we altered these values the Universe would collapse and we wouldn’t be here is like some hand has adjusted a TV with 28 buttons in such a way that, if you touched anything, you’d lose the image. In that case, you could say someone adjusted it, but maybe the Universe, in its evolution, just ended up having those values, so they haven’t necessarily been caused.

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